Erectile dysfunction is serious business and it can create relational issues that extend well beyond the bedroom. In severe cases, erectile dysfunction may necessitate prescriptions, injections, or surgery. But surgery is a significant, permanent step, so people will want to know the chances that they have ED, what the treatment options are, and when surgery is necessary. Let’s take a deep dive into erectile dysfunction and look at the facts.
Getting a Diagnosis
Erectile dysfunction is a widely recognized disorder, but few people understand what constitutes ED. Sometimes, ED is conflated with low libido. Essentially, those who have ED have trouble getting an erection 75% of the time—or more. So, in order to get a better feel for whether you may have ED, consider whether or not you have difficulty masturbating three quarters of the times you attempt to. If you have ED, prescriptions like Viagra may help if the problem is in fact related to your penile blood flow. If, however, you have performance anxiety or other psychological issues, Viagra may not help. Fortunately, if a prescription doesn’t help boost the quality of your erections, other options abound.
People who have ED are often older or have undergone cancer treatment. Cancer treatments might remove necessary tissue for erections, damage the nerves, or even cause infertility. In these cases, more invasive procedures may be required to restore prior sexual function.
Options for Erectile Dysfunction Treatment
Getting therapy from a licensed, trusted therapist is an excellent place to start. Unaddressed shame and past sexual trauma can completely obliterate the effectiveness of the pills. So, keeping your mental health in check is a crucial first step to treating erectile dysfunction.
Also, don’t forget to get a full workup from your medical doctor so that they can check for any other underlying health issues that may be causing your ED symptoms. Resolving those health issues, whether diabetes, high blood pressure, or something else entirely, can fix the dysfunction, so it’s important to consider your physical health.
When the Pills Don’t Work
If Viagra and therapy haven’t solved the erectile dysfunction symptoms, other options are available. For instance, injections, vacuum devices, and suppositories are all options that you can speak with your doctor about. The injections are in the side of the penis, which may come as a relief to anyone concerned about getting a needle right in the head of the penis. The downside to this option is that you may need to have sex directly after injection, which isn’t necessarily a mood enhancer. Further, people whose penile vascular systems are not optimal will only see results for a limited period of time.
Surgery, also known as penile prosthesis, can help with some people who have ED. It’s considered the final step to try, but it is very effective. There are different options for penile prosthesis. Some insert flexible rods into the penis; others insert inflatable devices into the penis, which allows for more control over the erection. However, this is typically an outpatient surgery, and for healthy people, the risks are usually low. Keep in mind that enlargement doesn’t often happen; the goal is to restore your prior size and function.
If you need this surgery, there’s no need to feel ashamed. Your sexual health is important, and focusing on your sexual wellness is empowering. If you’d like to seek psychological help as well, get in touch with a therapist today.
Bio: Dr. Nazanin Moali is a clinical psychologist and sex therapist in the Los Angeles area. She works with various individuals to understand and improve their sexuality. Dr. Moali conducts personal consultation sessions in her Torrance and Hermosa Beach offices, or via a secure, online video-counseling platform. Click here to download the 101 Ways to Keep Your Relationship Hot checklist. Download her new ebook, How to Increase Your Libido – For Women, here.